I purchased a JVC SR-VD400U D-VHS machine new about three years ago. This was probably the last model of D-VHS that JVC made. Since then I have had trouble getting this machine to actually do all of the great things it is supposedly capable of. I know this is pretty obsolete technology, but I’ve got some time in my hands want to see just what it can do.
JVC INPUTS: firewire, s-video and composite, antenna
JVC OUTPUTS: firewire, s-video and composite, antenna, component
What I CAN do in DVHS mode (HS mode in all cases):
- Record miniDV (standard definition) footage directly from my Canon HV40 camcorder via firewire.
- Record programs from DirecTV STB via s-video in 720x480 (DVD quality, but still standard definition).
- Watch pre-recorded D-Theatre tapes.
That’s about it. About the only useful feature is the high quality of SD recordings.
What I CANNOT do in DVHS mode (HS mode in all cases):
- Record anything from antenna (the deck’s tuner predates ATSC).
- Record high definition from satellite box. DirecTV STB has neither firewire out or antenna out. JVC has no component in.
- Using CAP-DVHS and DVHS Tool, I tried transferring high definition MPEG2 TS files to the JVC, but I get severe blocking noise. The MPEG2 TS files were compiled by recording OTA in SageTV with a Vista View internal capture card (VIXS). The resulting MPEG2 program stream file was converted to TS using a video converter. I verified with a computer program that the resulting final file is an MPEG2 TS, which is the file format my JVC requires.
- Using CAP-DVHS and DVHS Tool, I tried transferring high definition TS files recorded with HD-PVR and SageTV, but no luck. HD-PVR records TS files, but in AVC (MPEG4), whereas the JVC will only accept MPEG2.
- Tried transferring high definition footage from my Canon HV40 MiniDV/HDV camcorder, unfortunately I get slight blocking noise and stuttering. Oddly, I don’t get this behavior when transferring miniDV. I’d heard that the HV40 combined audio/video bit rate slightly exceeds the JVC's max bit rate of 28.2 Mbps, but cannot verify this to be true.
So, I don’t get it. I keep hearing about people archiving high definition material on D-VHS, either directly from an STB or using CAP-DVHS or DVHS Tool. Short of getting a retrofit STB like 169Time, how is one supposed to get high definition material onto the tape?